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Industrial Relations

Maintaining good management / employee relationships

Labour legislation is continuously evolving and it is important that businesses, both big and small, remain abreast of changes to ensure that they at all times manage employees in keeping with applicable legislation and best practice guidelines.

RISMA advises on all aspects of industrial relations including reorganisation consultation and planning, fair retrenchment processes, discipline and grievance handling; and management / employee relationship building through participative structures such as unions and employee forums. RISMA can also provide in-house training on all these systems and principles.

Disciplinary and grievance handling

RISMA can assist you to develop and implement a Disciplinary Code and Procedure and Incapacity Procedure to address poor performance as well as the Grievance Procedure for the organisation. RISMA is able to provide expert advice and guidance to line management with regard to the proper application of discipline and incapacity counselling in the workplace, using the procedures and forms in the policy.

RISMA can act as the independent chairperson of a disciplinary hearing or arrange for another independent chairperson if RISMA has been too involved in guiding line management in the assessment of the facts and the preparation of documents for the disciplinary hearing.

Before dealing with a particular case, it is important for Management to first decide whether it is a case of misconduct or a case involving incapacity. The reason for this is that different procedures are used in dealing with each type of behaviour.


  • Misconduct cases involve intentional or negligent fault on the part of the employee. Examples of misconduct may include a breach of the law [e.g. theft, assault, etc] or of a company rule or condition of employment.
    The appropriate procedure to follow is the Disciplinary Procedure. It is designed to correct the employee’s conduct. Severe or repeated misconduct may result in dismissal.


  • Incapacity cases involve unintentional or no fault on the part of the employee. This category has two subcategories, namely poor work performance and ill health:
  • Performance incapacity / incompetence [poor work performance] is typically due to the inability to do the job through lack of knowledge or skills, training, natural ability or the ability to work with fellow employees, incompetence, etc. The subcategory also includes the more difficult cases of a social nature e.g. incompatibility, poor social skills, etc.
  • Physical incapability due to ill health or injury includes short or long term illness and injuries.
    The appropriate procedure to follow is the Incapacity Counselling Procedure. It is designed to assist the employee to perform to the required standards. Failure to improve performance to the required standards within a reasonable period of time may result in termination. The counselling procedure is designed to solve the problem in a sympathetic manner.

    Retrenchments and redundancies

    RISMA has many years’ experience in the reorganisation of corporate companies and the consultation processes with affected employees to ensure that any retrenchment that may flow from the reorganisation is done fairly and in keeping with current legislation.

    RISMA’s retrenchment policies and supporting documentation, together with our experience and keen insights, has enabled many management teams to successfully steer this challenging and exacting process to a conclusion acceptable to all parties.


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